Imports fuelled by rising energy products

by Canadian Shipper

OTTAWA, Ont. — Imports increased in November, primarily the result of greater imports of energy products, Statistics Canada records indicate. This gain was partly offset by a decline in machinery and equipment.

Imports of energy products soared 20.8% to $3.3 billion, largely on the strength of both crude petroleum and other energy products. Crude petroleum jumped 15.3% to $2.2 billion, as volumes increased and prices remained virtually unchanged. Other energy products also registered strong growth, rising 33.4%, as petroleum and coal products increased dramatically (+50.6%).

Automotive products advanced 1.9% to $6.7 billion, as imports of both truck and other motor vehicles and passenger auto and chassis increased significantly. Trucks and other motor vehicles rose 7.6% to a record high of $1.5 billion. Passenger autos grew for the second month in a row, rising 4.7% to $2.3 billion, surpassing levels reached in 2006. Motor vehicle parts declined 3.1%, the second decrease in as many months.

Agricultural and fishing products edged up 0.7% to $2.1 billion, reflecting greater imports of fruits and vegetables, particularly fresh fruit and vegetables. Live animals also increased in November, as a result of increased imports of horses. Corn imports increased for the fifth consecutive month.

Machinery and equipment continued its downward trend for the fourth consecutive month, falling 3.4% to $9.3 billion, the result of widespread declines in all sub-sectors. Aircraft and other transportation equipment and industrial and agricultural machinery represented three-quarters of the decline. For the first 11 months of 2007, aircraft and other transportation equipment remained well above levels recorded in 2006.

Industrial goods and materials edged down 0.1% to $6.8 billion, following declines in chemicals and plastics. Organic chemicals declined for the fourth month in a row. By contrast, imports of metals and metal ores grew 4.8% to $2.5 billion, on the strength of rising imports of non-ferrous metals and alloys, particularly copper.

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